When I would stand up there, watching people watch me, draw me, scratch me out and start anew, get angry and tear me up, I realized it wasn’t me. The longer the class went on, the less embodied, but more myself, I felt.

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// Dainis Graveris

I started nude modeling in college. What a typical time to begin a job with this uniform. It found root in a friend’s simple art project: she had just switched from math to art major. She was trying to justify why she did it, to her professors and to herself, and started scouting bodies for a nude photo project.

I was one of her friendly, easy-going guinea pigs, and had been recovering from an eating disorder (you can read about this poetic process, which doesn’t end here by the way). …


The poetry and truth will change the world because it’s all speaking to a worldwide problem

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Photo by Nick Fewings on Unsplash

A few days ago, I was calling an older relative in the US. I’m in Uruguay right now, and wanted to talk — see how she is understanding the recent revitalized energy in the national movement for Black lives.

We are White and come from an Irish-Catholic family. There were a few things about the movement, she said, that she didn’t understand.

Those things surprised me. She has always been, to me, one of the most intelligent beings to walk the earth. What’s the disconnect?


I’m not just the “moderate” left.

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You probably avoid me.

You probably say to yourself, heh, I won’t need to use her. I won’t need to use her because I’m good at this. I’m gonna push myself. Only my mom, or perhaps my grandma, would need to resort to the left corner.

I don’t need to go with her measly 3 pounders.

I can lift the eight pounders too, and at the impossible speed of the trainer in the front. I can probably also smile, too, through all the squat-shoulder presses.

Look at how low-impact she does jumping jacks.

That won’t do anything, without her jumping. She’s literally just waving her arms around, making a snowangel in the air. An airangel. That isn’t cardio. Is she in geriatric?

She’s also always just a wee bit less in shape than the rest.

That’s why they slated her to do the moderated moves, right? It must be that she’s just a little bit rounder, a little bit softer, a little bit more, just — you know. …


BE UNIQUE

Another short story on another first time.

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I never delete the photo of the blueberry-ricotta pizza you sent over — not even to free up iCloud storage space.

That was the summer after I cracked my skull open. Going to physical therapy, getting back on my feet. Recovering from an eating disorder all at the same time, trying to challenge it by working in food. A sandwich maker at a gastronomy fair.

Summer in New York City, all sweating in our respective gastronomical booths of astronomical prices. You were straight across the way, and we sometimes traded food for lunch. You said you were a vegetarian but would peck at any new meat just to try.

Our sandwich shop’s sandwiches––uber-processed white submarine rolls, pulled pork, BBQ sauce, and for the topping, potato chips; the chef was lactose intolerant. …


Caesar, Lodbrok, Lenin, and more (mostly white) men

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Photo by Patrick Fore on Unsplash

Honestly, they were drawn out of a hat.

I was so in need of a project proposal for Creative Writing 101 that I asked these dead historical world leaders what they would write about.

Vladimir Lenin

Background: Prime gig, the Russian Revolution, beginning of 20th century. The first political leader to attempt to put Marxist theory into practice. Known for his campaign slogan, “Peace, Land, and Bread,” which promised more peace, ownership, and food to the Russian people.

Creative Writing Proposal: Peace, Land, and Thread: A polemic epic that interweaves class struggles not in book form, but instead into a winter blanket. …


The proverbial “it hit me.”

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Photo by Tayla Jeffs on Unsplash

Anorexia is a tough one. It’s much easier to treat a broken finger.

A broken skull is a tough one, too. But it’s much easier to treat than anorexia.

Broken bones and anorexia––the two go together, don’t they? The National Institutes of Health finds individuals with anorexia at risk for osteoporosis––and that the eating disorder’s characteristic loss of bone density, which can lead to osteoporosis later in life, starts happening early.

The Background

So there I was, 18 years young and a highly-functioning individual with anorexia. I had always had a distorted relationship with my body, food, and exercise, but going into all that now would involve a culling of childhood and genetic history. …


Inspired by a Jane of many trades.

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Photo by Isaac N.C. on Unsplash

There’s a saying in Spanish: “If you like the peach, you gotta tolerate the fuzz.”

Maybe, in the days of an un-flat world — flat now, because we’re all connected and constantly recognizing new intersectionalities (I’m not a “flat-Earther,” don’t stab me with your Ph.D. pen) — maybe back then, things seemed more simple: You dedicated yourself to a profession (or not), had children, and died.

Sure, there were a few Aristotles — a few “polymaths” leaping around in their tunics, flaunting capricious curiosities. …


…probably produced by consumerism!

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Photo by Lucian Alexe on Unsplash

When I say the name “DiGiorno,” what comes to mind?

Could be a false start on a French name for mustard.

Could be a vague impulse to imitate a stereotypical Italian accent (just stretch out the penultimate on everything).

Could be your Italian grandfather, who, after watching The Irishman, you willfully confabulate memories of watching dip bread into red wine.

In all of these inventive lapses of your unlived life story, you might have stumbled upon a solid memory. You might have imagined a frozen pizza, or even felt the little jingle dingle in your head.


When, as the editor/decider of writer’s fates, you’re in the mood.

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Photo by Helloquence on Unsplash

Look, edgy zine editor.

I get that you receive a lot of submissions, and that mine is one of them.

I get that you want me to upload every document with a specific file name, so I help you to avoid the mundane drag-and-drop.

I get that you “can’t promise” to get back before the next 3–6 months, which is quite the open window. But hey, I choose you.

I get that you “can only offer a modest compensation,” but I still submit my time-intensive work to you because I dig your style and mission.

I get that you consist of “an extremely small staff” and, because of that, “can’t respond personally to every submission” — that is, if you even dole out an automated response within the next 10 months and 29 days. …

About

Sarah Simon

New Yorker at soul living in Uruguay. Still pondering the difference between manteca and mantequilla. https://tinyurl.com/ybsng52b

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